The Philippines has something of a reputation for stunning beaches and exciting cities – and deservedly so. But what about the more rugged and adventurous side to the country? What about the endless opportunities for outdoor exploration? For testing your limits and uncovering natural wonders? You see, the Philippines is an ideal destination for beach bum and intrepid explorer alike, and in this feature we’ll be appeasing the latter with our top picks of adventurous experiences. From mountain biking to caving, this is the Philippines you may not have known existed.
Dive with Thresher Sharks
When you’re not exploring the beauty on land, it’s imperative you get that wet suit on and see what’s lurking beneath the perfectly clear waters that surround this archipelago. Monad Shoal off Malapascua is one site in particular that never fails to get us excited. Why? Well it just so happens to be the shallowest place in the world that you’ll be able to dive with thresher sharks. Now don’t panic at the sight of the word ‘shark’. Yes they grow up to five meters in length and their little teeth are rather sharp, but these guys feed solely on squid and fish and if you startle them, they’ll disappear in a second rather than recreate a scene from Jaws. Underwater adventure at its very best.
Cave touring in Sagada
Not one for the claustrophobic, an adventure through the cave systems of Sumaging and Lumiang requires crawling, climbing, swimming and lots of determination. At some points you’ll be squeezing yourself through tight tunnels and at others swimming across giant underground pools. It’s exhilarating, if a little frightening at times, but the sheer adrenaline (and abundance of expert guides) is sure to pull you through. Our top tip: don’t try this in the wet season –flash flooding has been known to occur and that’s a sticky situation you won’t want to have to deal with when you’re underground and stuck in a cave.
Mountain Biking in Luzon
The dramatic landscapes of Luzon make the island a popular destination for mountain bikers. A great destination to learn or an intrepid one to test your skills, Luzon can cater to all abilities. Sweeping mountains, steep volcanoes, glistening lakes and beautiful coastlines ensure that biking here is both challenging and rewarding. For every jagged hill you successfully descend, a beautiful stretch of open road awaits. It’s also a great way to see the island from another perspective, as many biking trails will pass through local villages and enable you to escape the tourist hot spots. An active pursuit we urge you to try.
Sea Kayaking in Palawan
We’re heading back to the waters with this one, but this time you’ll be above the surface, paddling your way along spectacular coastlines and to otherwise inaccessible beaches. Get back to nature and spend a few days’ island hopping around Palawan, fishing for your food and camping out under the stars. We can tailor this adventure to your skill level, making it as hard or as easy as you’d like. Be it week-long expedition or one-day tour, sea kayaking is a great way to absorb the beauty of the islands from beyond the shore, and an ideal way to escape other travellers. What’s more, Palawan has some of the best snorkelling spots in the world, so being able to jump in from your kayak is a privilege you’ll never get bored of.